Indonesia: Fires and haze OCHA Situation Report No. 2

Indonesia: Fires and haze OCHA Situation Report No. 2

10 October 2006

published by www.reliefweb.int


Ref: OCHA/GVA – 2006/0212

OCHA Situation Report No. 2: Indonesia – Fires and Haze Sumatra & Kalimantan

This situation report is based on information received from the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office in Jakarta and mediareports.

Situation

1. Since the end of September, fires and haze have worsened in several provinces in Sumatra and Kalimantan. In Sumatra, the hotspots were mostly detected in Jambi and South Sumatra provinces. In Kalimantan, most hotspots were detected in West and Central Kalimantan, but also in East and South Kalimantan provinces. Most fires took place in former plantation areas and peat lands. Fires were more frequent in inaccessible areas and where water sources were scarce. Due to rainfalls in some areas in Sumatra and Kalimantan, the number of hotspots continues fluctuating. In both provinces, the thick haze has forced cancellations or delays of local flights because of the limited visibility near airports.

2. The number of detected hotspots in West Kalimantan in the past two weeks reached a peak of 500 fires in a single day, scattered mostly in Ketapang, Kapuas Hulu and Sanggau districts. Due to the rainfalls, the number of hotspots in this province has decreased. However, smoke haze from West Kalimantan still affects Pontianak city and its surroundings. The Pollution Standard Index (PSI) has already reached the dangerous level (300 – 550), and on 2 October, the highest PSI at 913 was recorded in Pontianak. As of 10 October, local authorities have been closing down some schools, especially kindergarten and elementary levels.

3. In Central Kalimantan, most hotspots were detected in Sampit, Seruyan, Kota Waringin Timur, Kapuas and Pulau Pisau districts. During the last two weeks, the peak of detected hotspots in one single day reached nearly 3,500 fires. With rainfalls, the number of hotspots has decreased, but the thick smoke haze still blankets Palangkaraya city and surroundings. In these areas, local health offices and various local organizations have distributed masks. As of this week, schools from kindergarten to high school levels have closed down.

4. Media reported that on 6 October, one boat sank on the Musri River in South Sumatra province, after a ship carrying tons of fertilizer hit four other vessels due to poor visibility. No fatalities were reported. On 8 October, two ships collided in the Batanghari river, Jambi province, and one crew member has since been missing after falling down from one of the ships.

5. Media has also reported that the number of patients with acute respiratory track infections is on the increase in Riau and Jambi provinces.

6. The thick haze has also begun shrouding Singapore and Malaysia. The Government of Malaysia is encouraging the Indonesian Government to sign the ASEAN Agreement on Trans Boundary Haze Pollution, considering that Indonesia is the sole country which has not yet signed it.

National response

7. On 10 October, BAKORNAS PB convened a coordination meeting with pertinent Ministries and a decision has been made to carry out water bombings and cloud seeding operations in Jambi, South Sumatra, Central Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan and South Kalimantan provinces in the next few days.

8. Manggala Agni fire brigades, together with fire fighters from local administrations, local communities and organizations, continue to suppress fires from the ground. Local authorities in the affected provinces also continue disseminating to local farmers the prohibition on opening fires.

9. The Indonesian National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) continues to provide weather situation and fire danger information. The Indonesian Meteorological Services continues providing information on the weathersituation.

International response

11. On 11 October, six members of the Panel of ASEAN Experts on Fire and Haze Assessment from Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and one person from the ASEAN Secretariat will be deployed to South Sumatra for a rapid assessment. This will be the third rapid assessment undertaken by this Panel of ASEAN Experts. The first assessment took place between 9 and 11 August, and the second one between 11 and 13 September.

12. The UN RC/HC Office in Indonesia continues monitoring the situation.


 

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